NRL Round 10 Previews and Tips


Rabbitohs v Storm

Fri 16 May, 7:40pm, ANZ Stadium

Rabbitohs: 1. Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dylan Walker 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Tyrrell 11. Kyle Turner 12. Ben Te’o 13. Sam Burgess
Interchange: 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Jason Clark 16. Chris McQueen 17. Luke Burgess 18. Joel Reddy 19. Ben Lowe
Storm: 1.Billy Slater 2. Sisa Waqa 3. Will Chambers 4. Kurt Mann 5. Young Tonumaipea 6. Joel Romelo 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Bryan Norrie 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe
Interchange: 14. Kenny Bromwich 15. Tohu Harris 16. Dayne Weston 17. George Rose


Both sides currently sit on 5 wins and 4 losses for the year but it’s the Rabbitohs that have looked the most able now that they have put their slow start to the season behind them.

The difference between the sides is pretty clear just from looking at the for and against tallies with the Bunnies harbouring a +56 differential whilst the Storm’s number sits at -21. The difference comes down to defence with the Storm conceding 7.3 points more than the Rabbitohs so far this year.

Michael Maguire’s Rabbitohs routed the Titans on the Gold Coast last week with some simple up the middle ball running that took them to the final siren with 40 points under their belts. The Storm also won their Round 9 game against Manly, but were expected to win a bit more convincingly compared to the actual comeback they put on in the last 10 minutes of the match to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In that game, Manly were without key players but showed that some simple ‘go forward’ footy played up the middle is still a good recipe for success.

Those results beg the question: If the Storm can almost lose a game in front of their home crowd against a weakened side that simply applied themselves up the middle, how will they fare against a full strength Rabbitohs side trying to smash through them like an out of control steam train? Not so well in my opinion, and the -6.0 line on offer looks fantastic as I have no doubts that the Rabbitohs are at least one try better than the Storm, not to mention Adam Reynolds is a far better goal kicker than Cameron Smith.


Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs

Mike’s Best Bet: Rabbitohs -6.0 @ $1.91 (Pinnacle)



Broncos v Titans

Fri 16 May, 7:40pm, Suncorp Stadium

Broncos: 1. Ben Barba 2. Daniel Vidot 3. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges 5. Dale Copley 6. Josh Hoffman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Alex Glenn 12. Corey Parker 13. Matt Gillett
Interchange: 14. David Hala 15. Ben Hannant 16. Corey Oates 17. Todd Lowrie 18. Jake Granville
Titans: 1. David Mead 2. Kevin Gordon 3. William Zillman 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Anthony Don 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Albert Kelly 8. Luke Douglas 9. Beau Falloon 10. Nate Myles 11. Mark Minichiello 12. Dave Taylor 13. Ashley Harrison
Interchange: 14. Matt White 15. Luke Bailey 16. Cody Nelson 17. Paul Carter 18. Mark Ioane


Greg Bird’s suspension has been handed down and he won’t be contesting the first game in this year’s State of Origin series, however most Titans fans north of the border are more concerned about the fact that he won’t be travelling with the side to Brisbane for the game against the Broncos.

The Titans sit 3rd on the ladder at the moment with 6 victories to their name and one of those wins collected along the way was against the Broncos back in Round 6 on the Gold Coast. It was a game that the Broncos could have won but for some lapses late in the game that pretty much handed the victory to the Titans. They will no doubt be out to exact revenge and the time is right to strike the Titans while they are without Bird, and coming off the back of a blow to their confidence when losing to the Rabbitohs on Saturday night to the tune of 40-18.

I’m not keen to bet on this game with the Broncos at such a short quote of $1.40. The line suggests that the Broncos will need to win by 10 points to cover and although I expect them to win, I’m not ruling out another grinding performance from the Titans that could see them finish within 6 of the Broncos.


Mike’s Tip: Broncos

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Brisbane/Brisbane in Halftime/Fulltime betting @ $1.72 (Sportingbet)



Eels v Dragons

Sat 17 May, 3.00pm, Pirtek Stadium

Eels: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Semi Radradra 3. Will Hopoate 4. Willie Tonga 5. Ken Sio 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Tim Mannah 9. Nathan Peats 10. Darcy Lussick 11. David Gower 12. Manu Ma’u 13. Joseph Paulo
Interchange: 14. Pauli Pauli 15. Peni Terepo 16. Junior Paulo 17. Mitch Allgood
Dragons: 1.Josh Dugan 2. Brett Morris 3. Joel Thompson 4. Gerard Beale 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Sam Williams 8. Tyson Frizell 9. Mitch Rein 10. Leeson Ah Mau 11. Bronson Harrison 12. Ben Creagh 13. Trent Merrin
Interchange: 14. Jack Stockwell 15. Dan Hunt 16. Jack De Belin 17. Will Matthews


Another home game against another ordinary team presents itself to the Eels and I couldn’t really give two hoots if Benji Marshall ends up playing or not.

The Eels had a similar scenario presented to them on Monday night when they towelled the Sharks by 42 points to 24 and I don’t see any reason why they won’t win this one against a Dragons side that are in desperate need of some soul searching.

38-6 was the final score when the Dragons were defeated by the Bulldogs on Sunday making it the second week in a row the Dragons had conceded 34 or more points.

Both these sides are headed for a bye next week but one would suspect the Dragons are the ones hanging for it much more than an Eels side that appear to be enjoying playing footy in front of their home crowd, led by ‘The Hayne Plane’.

Eels halfback has continued to prove doubters wrong as week in, week out he delivers the good. Last week he pulled off a man of the match performance and his maturity has finally manifested itself in his ballwork.

Best bet? You betcha! And why wouldn’t it simply be the Eels to win? As I mentioned earlier, the whole set up has a similar feel to last week’s match when we snapped up $1.71 for the Eels to beat the Sharks which they ended up doing so by 18 points.

This week you can get them @ $1.61 which still represents great value, so hurry and get onboard before that price drops.


Mike’s Tip: Eels

Mike’s Best Bet: Eels Head to Head @ $1.61 (Pinnacle)



Sharks v Tigers

Sat 17 May, 5:30pm, Remondis Stadium

Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Beau Ryan 6. Luke Lewis 7. Jeff Robson 8. Sam Tagataese 9. John Morris 10. Bryce Gibbs 11. Anthony Tupou 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen
Interchange: 14. Isaac De Gois 15. Chris Heighington 16. Tinirau Arona  17. Siosaia Vave 18. Michael Lichaa 19. David Fifita 20. Jonathan Wright
Tigers: 1. Kurtis Rowe 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tim Simona 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Pat Richards 6. Braith Anasta 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah 10. Keith Galloway 11. Cory Paterson 12. Bodene Thompson 13. Adam Blair
Interchange: 14. Martin Taupau 15. Ava Seumanufagai 16. Blake Austin 17.  Sauaso Sue


The Sharks still sit at the foot of the premiership ladder and have had a tough time of it this year with injury woes. Just as players of the calibre of Luke Lewis and Anthony Tupou made their way back to the side, other key men like Todd Carney and Andrew Fifita have been sidelined by injury.

To rub salt into the Sharks’ wound, the Wests Tigers are welcoming back Sauaso Sue, Tim Simona, Braith Anasta and the one and only, Robbie Farah.

The Tigers’ record is much stronger when Robbie Farah is in the side and as captain, Farah will be getting the best out of his troops now that he is back onboard.

The return of Farah will probably be a double edged sword as he will also serve to relieve pressure from halfback Luke Brooks, particularly in the kicking department. When Brooks is more focused on his own ideas, the Tigers look far more potent, particularly on the edges.

But all these positives for the Tigers won’t count for much if they don’t improve on last week’s 62% completion rate in a game where they capitulated against the Roosters.

Defence, as it always is, will be the order of the day as opposed to attacking flair and miracle plays. The side that can do this the best will prevail.

I’m keen on the Tigers here and the $2.04 on Pinnacle is more than juicy enough for the picking. Admittedly I jumped in early and took $1.96, but you can get a better price than I did so don’t miss out!


Mike’s Tip: Tigers

Mike’s Best Bet: Tigers Head to Head @ $2.04 (Pinnacle)



Cowboys v Roosters

Sat 17 May, 7:30pm, Townsville Stadium

Cowboys: 1. Michael Morgan 2. Matthew Wright 3. Brent Tate 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Johnathan Thurston 7. Ray Thompson 8. Matthew Scott 9. Rory Kostjasyn 10. James Tamou 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Jason Taumalolo 13. Tariq Sims
Interchange: 14. Cameron King 15. Ethan Lowe 16. Ashton Sims 17. Scott Bolton 18. Glenn Hall
Roosters: 1.Anthony Minichiello 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 6. Sonny Bill Williams 7. James Maloney 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Sam Moa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Aidan Guerra
Interchange: 14. Daniel Mortimer 15. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 16. Isaac Liu 17. Dylan Napa 18. Samisoni Langi


The real Cowboys side stood up last week when they hosted the Broncos and ultimately fought hard to grab a 27-14 win. Many believe that win could be the turning point in the Cowboy’s season after seeing Thurston had switched completely to halfback and saw a lot more ball at first receiver. Thurston’s impact on the game was huge and it was more like the Johnathan Thurston of old, and hopefully for the Cowboys’ sake coach Paul Green sees him for what he really is: a halfback.

Of course Thurston couldn’t have done it without the aid of his forwards and prop Matt Scott in particular was scintillating in his role, but will face a greater test in Roosters’ and former Kiwi prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

I don’t like to dwell on off field controversies in match previews that are about the on field goodness of NRL footy, so I’ll simply mention that Roosters’ halfback Mitchell Pearce is out of this game after being stood down by the club.

James Maloney will shift to the 7 jersey with Sonny Bill Williams playing in the 6 and Mitch Aubusson moving into the starting backs.

For those who don’t remember, Sonny Bill played a match at 5/8th last year against the Bulldogs and played the position like a veteran, so there will be no concerns in that department.

The Roosters head into this match in Townsville off the back of a soft win against the Tigers and will no doubt face a tougher test playing against the Cowboys so far away from the comfort of Sydney.

The side looks good when Pearce and Maloney are firing together but with Pearce in the naughty corner, this may prove to be a test too tough against a Nth Qld side on the rise.

I’m backing the Cowboys and whilst the +1.5 line available would come in handy in a close finish, I’m confident enough that the Cowboys are a try better than the Roosters at home and can win by at least four points, and therefore I’m recommending the head to head quote of $2.05


Mike’s Tip: Cowboys

Mike’s Best Bet: Cowboys Head to Head @ $2.05 (Sportsbet)



Raiders v Panthers

Sun 18 May, 2:00pm, GIO Stadium

Raiders: 1. Anthony Milford 2. Reece Robinson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Jack Wighton 5. Mosese Pangai 6. Terry Campese 7. Josh McCrone 8. David Shillington 9. Glen Buttriss 10. Brett White 11. Josh Papalii 12. Jarrad Kennedy 13. Shaun Fensom
Interchange: 14. Matt McIlwrick 15. Joel Edwards 16. Paul Vaughan 17. Dane Tilse 18. Mitch Cornish 19. Shannon Boyd 20. Kyle O’Donnell 21. Sami Sauiluma
Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Jamal Idris 5. Dacid Simmons 6. Jamie Soward 7. Peter Wallace 8. Sam McKendry 9. James Segeyaro 10. Brent Kite 11. Sika Manu 12. Tyrone Peachey 13. Adam Docker
Interchange: 14. Matt Robinson 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Isaah Yeo 17. Tim Grant


Ricky Stuart might be a complete dud of a coach but the Raiders players have to take some responsibility for not playing at 100% in their last two games when they were beaten by cricket like score lines. 108 points is the amount the Raiders have conceded in their last two matches but perhaps a game in front of their home crowd might be what they suddenly need to hold them accountable for their efforts, or rather lack of. They have to put their bodies on the line for 80 minutes and remember that hard work is the platform for any winning side to build on.

I can’t even really make comment on any sort of attacking structures they have used in the last two games as those moves obviously amounted to nearly nothing, and we’ll just have to wait and see if they stick to those manoeuvres.

They might as well in my opinion as the problem clearly lies with their defence, not their attack.

The main change to the Raiders’ lineup is that Coach Stuart has finally decided to cut his losses with the Wighton experiment, moving him out of 5/8th and back into the centres. Josh McCrone will move from the bench into the starting halves.

The Raiders’ opponents are the Panthers who despite struggling away from home this year, managed to notch up a victory against the Knights last week in Newcastle.

The Panthers would no doubt have had a look at videos of the Raiders’ last couple of games to try and find which defenders are the weakest of the weak. It’s likely a lot of ball will be spread to the flanks to simply try and outnumber the Raiders, and if strike winger Josh Mansour can get plenty of early ball, he will prove to be very tough to handle.

I won’t be recommending any best bets here with how unpredictable the Panthers can be away from home, not to mention how unpredictable the Raiders can be at any time of any day. But I don’t expect to see the Raiders’ cop a 3rd straight belting in a row from a Panthers side that are only averaging 18 points per game, the third worst record in the comp.


Mike’s Tip: Draw

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bets:
Total match points under 44.5 (Sportsbet) @ $1.90
Any Other Result in Half Time/Full Time betting @ $9.00 (Palmerbet)



Bulldogs v Warriors

Sun 18 May, 3:00pm, Waikato Stadium

Bulldogs: 1. Sam Perrett 2. Mitch Brown 3. Josh Morris 4. Tim Lafai 5. Chase Stanley 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aidan Tolman 9. Michael Ennis 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Tony Williams 13. Greg Eastwood
Interchange: 14. Dale Finucane 16. Tim Browne 17. David Klemmer  24. Sam Kasiano 19. Moses Mbye
Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins 2. Ngani Laumape 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Ben Henry 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Chad Townsend 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Suaia Matagi 9. Nathan Friend 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Jayson Bukuya 12. Ben Matulino 13. Simon Mannering
Interchange: 14. Feleti Mateo 15. Sebastine Ikahihifo 16. Sione Lousi 17. Kevin Locke 20. Charlie Gubb

It’s another Bulldogs home game moved to New Zealand, with this event being played out in Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.

These two sides have already met once this year and that game was played also in New Zealand with the Bulldogs coming away 21-20 victors thanks to the boot of Trent Hodkinson who slotted a penalty goal and a field goal in the dying stages of the match.

The Warriors have been through a lot this year and the round 6 meeting of these two sides marked the NRL coaching debut for Andrew McFadden who took over from Matt Elliott who was unceremoniously sacked.

Since McFadden’s debut, the Warriors have won 2 of their 4 matches and have so far looked a vastly better team than the one that contested rounds 1 through 5 under Elliott. One of those victories included a grinding effort that saw them beat the Storm down in Melbourne in what was one of the games most comparable to finals footy intensity all year.

Speaking of finals footy and it would be hard to see the Bulldogs missing the final this year even though we’re only 10 rounds into the comp. Five-eighth Josh Reynolds plays like a man possessed off the back of his pure desire to win and it’s going to be interesting to see if he can go beyond that now that he is potentially playing for a NSW jersey for the upcoming State of Origin series.

Both sides had dominating wins last week with the Bulldogs beating St George-Illawarra by 32 and the Warriors beating the Raiders by 42, but it’s highly unlikely either side will get the luxury of an easy win here.

The game could be won in the forwards with two big packs going head to head centre field to do battle. The x-factor in the game is Konrad Hurrell who could prove pivotal for both teams in the sense that he can demolish the opposition defence to score tries, but if the Bulldogs can stay on him and give him little room to move, they will benefit the most.


Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Bulldogs Head to Head @ $1.77 (Pinnacle)



Sea Eagles v Knights

Mon 19 May, 7:00pm, Brookvale Oval

Sea Eagles: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Peta Hiku 4. Steve Matai 5. David Williams 6. Jack Littlejohn 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Starling 9. Matt Ballin 10. Brenton Lawrence 11. Anthony Watmough 12. Justin Horo 13. Jamie Buhrer
Interchange: 14. James Hasson 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Jesse Sene-Lefao 17. Jason King 18. Tom Symonds
Knights: 1. Darius Boyd 2. James McManus 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. David Fa’alogo 9. Kurt Gidley 10. Kade Snowden 11. Beau Scott 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Adam Cuthbertson
Interchange: 14. Adam Clydsdale 15. Chris Houston 17. Willie Mason 18. Korbin Sims 19. Joseph Tapine

The Sea Eagles return home battered and bruised after their loss to the Storm in the dying minutes of their round 9 clash although they will surely take some solace in the fact that they were able to be so competitive without Glen Stewart, Jamie Lyon and Kieran Foran in the team.

The same depleted team will take the field in Monday night footy against the Knights who are struggling to find their identity at the moment and as a result of some lifeless performances currently sit 15th on the ladder.

Knights’ coach Wayne Bennett believes his club are in the habit of losing and knows now that the likely requirement of 10 wins from their remaining 15 matches could be too far out of their reach.

Perhaps one shining light on the near horizon for the Knights is this week’s return of Willie Mason and Korbin Sims to the team, but in reality the big picture doesn’t look so good when they are still without the likes of Russell Packer, Alex McKinnon and Jeremy Smith in the forward pack.

I don’t have any interest in betting on this game when Manly are well under the $1.40 I would rate them. Plus the Knights who despite playing poorly are still largely unpredictable which hardly has me enthused about taking Manly to cover the line, especially with Lyon, Stewart and Foran missing it means there are simply too many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts.’

But if you are keen to have a bet perhaps you might like to take up Sportsbet bet on their first tryscorer offer where you can back anyone to score the first try in the match (up to $100) and if Brett Stewart scores a try at anytime, you’ll get your money back.

If I had to make a choice in that category, I’d go with Jorge Taufua to score first.


Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: J. Taufua 1st try scorer (refund if B. Stewart scores a try) @ $8.00 (Sportsbet)



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